Football

Allegri calls for improvement

Juventus boss unhappy with movement and defending in second half against 10-man Porto

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri believes there is still room for improvement after watching his side coast into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over 10-man Porto yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Serie A leaders were defending a 2-0 advantage from the first leg and never looked in danger of letting that advantage slip at Juventus Stadium.

Porto's task was rendered almost impossible when defender Maxi Pereira was sent off in the 40th minute for handball on the line and Paulo Dybala slotted in the resulting penalty just before half-time.

Allegri, though, wants more from his side as they take their place in tomorrow's quarter-final draw.

"Our aim was to be among Europe's top eight sides," Allegri told the club's official website.

"We must show the desire to improve the way we play, which is where we were found wanting tonight. We will face big teams and will require different performances.

"We played intelligently in the first half and the lads did well, whereas in the second period - playing 11 against 10 - we didn't move the ball quickly enough and we defended badly.

"We just had to choose an option and do it well - either you attack or you manage the game, slow the tempo and conserve energy. Yet we did neither one nor the other.

"The more you try and force it, the less your football comes off."

The Italian added: "Now we must have the ability to make it to the final, so we'll show heart and desire against whoever we face."

Porto had a couple of chances to net themselves an away goal, but Francisco Soares, who had scored nine goals in seven Portuguese Liga games, was not able to conjure a telling finish.

Coach Nuno Espirito Santo was left to reflect on some poor fortune for his side and what otherwise might have been, after also seeing Brazilian defender Alex Telles sent off when the teams played at Estadio do Dragao three weeks ago.

"The red card was decisive, as it had been in the first leg. There will always be a doubt about what we could have achieved with 11 players for the entire time in both games," said Nuno.

"We knew we had to score at least two goals, but we didn't want to lose our identity, and we didn't until the red card.

"I have to salute the support we had from our fans.

"It was their support that gave us the strength to keep our balance, to not concede any more goals and to even create a few chances in the second 45 minutes, so we leave more united than ever." - PA SPORT

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